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Web Serial

Web Serial: L&R #2: CHAPTER EIGHT: A CELESTIAL DEVICE

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CHAPTER EIGHT:
A CELESTIAL DEVICE


“Don’t point that thing at me,” LJ said, while returning upright, then propping himself against the monolithic tree that fell moments ago.

Dom rummaged aimlessly in circles, hands in pockets, swiping his foot over the grass several times before his arm swung down like a pendulum, plucked random grass and threw it in some-odd direction.

“Why? It’s just a simbyon beam,” Rom replied.

“Stop it, Rom,” LJ said.

“Guys?” Dom called out.

“How do you know what it is? Just making stuff up now, are we?” LJ said, brushing himself and the dust in frustration, as if the dust that lay on his shirt needed to be adjusted, needed somewhere else to call home through his internal dualism.

Before this very moment, never had a man-like person or any person, for that matter ever held a device just like this one or even remotely like it. The simbyon beam device. Neither was it clear how to operate it, being birthed straight from a clandestine research lab residing somewhere in the heavens above. Even though this fact was the giant elephant in the room, that Rom probably already knew, that certain fact didn’t deter Rom at all from pointing it in different places, banging it on the side of his leg and pressing various spots on the exterior of its technical, stylized surface. 

However, nothing happened until he placed it on his forearm. The device attached itself to Rom’s arm in a clenching, mysterious manner then lit up around the edges, finally circling in and lighting up the center, signifying it’s synchronicity with its host. Rom threw his head back in jestful admiration at the spectacle of technology and lights.

“Technology these days is amazing, I think. Even the AI’s getting pretty advanced. Want me to do a song and dance now? Want me to be your entertainer? I will, but not for free like some chump,” Rom said snarkily, bending his arms and legs, dancing and making vocal circus music.

“What the hell is wrong with you? Get outta here! Can’t you be serious for five minutes?” LJ barked.

“Look around you. What do you see? All you see is me.” Rom laughed high and continued, vibrato-ing rapidly:

“Tell me about anything you have seen since we got here that has been serious. This, all of it was made, meant to be funny. I mean, just look at you, LJ. You’re funny looking. Even after everything you’ve been through . . . But look, here you are, still alive and breathing. You ever thrown out everything you know and have accepted about a human face? Let me tell you, it’s not just your face that looks funny. It’s everybody’s face. And, that will never change.”

Rom faux-coughed and turned his attention, “But this, this is a simbyon beam device, used in the MKUltra experiments in the ‘50s in combination with LSD for mind control. You guys weren’t on LSD, so it doesn’t do anything but drain all your motivation, ha. Cool though, huh? Man. I’ve been waiting my whole life to get a hold of this,” Rom said.

A brazen, subdued, new fire sparked interest and a hope for answers inside LJ’s state of shaken physiology and mental clivity. Still under a stress and a reconstruction from everything that just happened.

“What do you mean ‘you guys’? You telling me I’ve already been shot with it? You sure we aren’t on LSD? Kinda feels like I might be,” LJ said.

“You sure it isn’t because you haven’t slept in a couple days, at least? Sleep is really one of the worst kinds of addictions. You can die from not having it, from not having the chemicals sleep releases into your brain. Being here makes it worse. Quickens it,” Rom said.

LJ and Rom glanced at each other. Some squiggling head echoes about how addiction could be compared to sleep quickly escaped LJ’s battered brain in light of priority, like they do when fighting new, remaining thoughts that get shoved aside, in place of jealous, long-term memories while the freshest concept found it’s resting place amongst festering flames of potential rage, finding new molecules to burn surrounding swirling memories like these: a healthy rage for LJ at this point, if a doctor or preacher ever could admit that a thing such as healthy rage existed. Meatball rage.

“You know, we are really starting to wonder about you. You disappear with Marlon, left us in that room to die, and now you are talking about this thing strapped on your arm like you grew up with it and slept with it in the bed, like a comfort doll. I think you are making stuff up, because you sure as hell don’t know how to use it. Although, I guess you could be playing dumb, which wouldn’t be the first time from what I’m starting to gather about you, Rom. I don’t want to sound or act like a broken record, but you better tell us everything you know,” LJ said.

“Speak for ya-self there, LJ. I’m just glad to be alive right now,” Dom said, exhaling light words.

Rom grabbed LJ by his t-shirt and slicey, slithered words sourced from in between his teeth and his mouth grew wide, “I don’t have to tell you anything. But you know what, I’m going to tell you one thing. A thing or two about you, me and this thing we’re in. You’re not in Idaho anymore Kujo, this is way more than raw potatoes now. It’s bigger than life itself, it’s ripping at the seams waiting on us. You’re going to pay attention and use your resources more, bub. But this, this ain’t no walk in a dog and pony park anymore. It’s real and it’s important. They are people preying on us, celebrities and big money makers. They want all the money and their fame and they need help from guys like us while all the others sit there, not thinking about how important their movies and music are, acting like it’s non-essential with no appreciation what-so-ever and just a primal taste to thieve. We’re just a small cog in a big ass gear-wheel, but it’s your duty now to spin your cog like you’re the last cog left. We might not know someone like John Mahoney from a hill of sauerkraut, but they, being us and the celebrities, the big money makers, they want us to help them, to keep their money and everything they work so hard for. What we have worked so hard for. We’re talking about crimes against celebrities, here. You think it’s an easy life being a big money maker or walking the red carpet? You think it’s funny? Well it’s not. They work just as hard for everything they have and we’re going to help them retain it. Bring justice where the justice is weak. Put the power back into the people. Throw the generalizations out the window, where they belong.”

“That’s not why I left the race, Rom. I left the race as a joke, to go pick up Vic for dinner. I’m fine with the money that I got.” LJ pit-stopped for tears but drew them up with sniffles. “That’s all it was. To go to dinner at Donna’s.”

“This ain’t about money, honey. You think you stand where you stand because you just wanted to keep doing what you are doing? I hate it when people tell me that, ‘keep doing what you’re doing’. It just means stagnant breath, bullshit regurgitated breath that gets exhaled and inhaled over and over. Is that what you want for your life? To be stuck breathing the same air over and over? Now, pull yourself together and act like somebody. Listen, I’m from here, from this thing. I’m a part of it. It’s a part of me. I was born and raised here in this thing. It’s not just one thing, it’s many things, way more things than you can imagine it ever being. This thing, it saves people’s lives, it moves people, it tests them, it helps them get to where they are going, especially if they aren’t where they belong, just like we were . . . and Dom. Dom here, he needs us and the constantly increasing demands of life will NEVER let you pay attention enough to the people you should pay attention to. That’s what we are fighting. The distraction. The pull to destroy our unity. We are fighting all the interruptions that are trying to pull us apart and keep us separated. This whole thing, I’m going to call it Technico. Technico is powered by octoplasmats. It’s purely technological. What you don’t know is this: This is the floating anomaly, Technico only wanted to dream and here you sit: all wrapped up in it’s obsession and aspiration to dream with real, live humans inside it. This is the answer to Technico’s current problem – it doesn’t dream. Except this time the weights got too heavy, the balance too tightly woven. Balancers rebelled out because of it, scooped us up.  You were wondering if we are up in the sky or down in the sea? We’ve gone through both already. You won’t be able to tell. This thing floats like a piece of space dust, ready for anything. It’s tricky, just like me, baby.”

LJ had premeditated words stuck in his throat. Jammed in, meant to be free, but stifled by a cold breath of hard, heavy news. How could what Rom is saying NOT be true? It couldn’t. It all added up. The missing piece of the puzzle slammed into place like a big rock that hit terminal velocity on it’s way to scare the life out of a cult of hip, psychic grandmas.

Dom watched LJ and Rom, half listening, half ready to break up a fight. Behind him, unknown out-of-sight objects hurled up and down, bouncing off the ground and sky, above and below, up and down, thumping like an overgrown, mutant rabbit on the loose from some experimental lab. Dom, Rom and LJ did not turn to look, nor did they break their attention from each other. Dom focused his attention on LJ and Rom, hoping to gift some kind of understanding between them through a benevolent voucher of faith.

“Let go of my shirt,” LJ commanded Rom.

“What are you gonna do? Nothing. Maybe cry. That’s it.”

“Guys.” Dom repeated more strong, once again.

LJ leaned backwards while attempting to free his shirt, but Rom held tight.

“Let go, Rom!” LJ talked strongly.

Rom jerked the shirt up, down, left, right and in between, faster than LJ could see. The shirt didn’t give way, but LJ did. LJ ran backwards on his heels, digging dirt while Rom snugged the shirt tight in his grip. LJ twisted forward giving Rom the opportunity to let go, just for a split second. LJ skidded across the grass, divotting, leaving his body mark all over the ground. Spiritual hands formed around the back of LJ’s forearms as he skid, bending his arms up straight-up toward the sky. He screamed in pain as his biceps and rotator cuffs pushed to the extent of regular movement. Miniature lacerations torn muscle and tendon. LJ jumped to his feet, turned around and kicked Rom in the chest with both feet.

Suns out, guns and legs out, Rom flew backward and out of sight, screaming as he went. Like a record player in reverse, Rom returned, the exact opposite way as he just went.

“See. That was you and not me,” Rom abruptly stated. “If you can hear me, but can’t see me, don’t talk to me.”

He flew back once again and LJ heard him talking from afar. LJ didn’t respond although he had the urge to satiate the need to answer the beckoning voice that came out of thin air, against his intuition to respond to every call that came to him. A new sense of comfort started reigning internally. A long standing queen had been overthrown that would take the place inside the round table of ultimate deciding factors in his mind. Number one being that every time he conjured a thought, it did not absolutely need to be completed, the thought that is, not until a sizable determination was met. In fact, interruptions, just like this one were what made his mind beautiful and abstract, like interacting sounds of life. Neither did every call for a response need answering or completing. Why did it always feel like he needed to complete every thought and answer every call? Was it pre-programmed in his instincts? He only knew that he liked to be answered every time he talked and it bothered him when he wasn’t answered. But a flip of, an almost instant restructuring of ultimate deciding factors in his mind was nothing but refreshing and exactly what he needed to keep moving forward, even if previous signs had also told him the same. Rom made a fine impromptu doctor. After all, it didn’t take much. Just Rom showing him a couple of tricks of the trade from his side of the house.

“Oh yeah, and that jhaman gem that I brought in, I still got it.”

“Jhaman gem?” Dom said and looked puzzled.

“Uh, huh. And, did you know there are at least two Asian people per one American?”

LJ stacked his fleeting grievance on top of time dispensed sorrow. He didn’t respond.

Rom pushed his sunglasses into his hair and let go of LJ’s shirt, then stood solid in front of him.

“I AM THE TRUE AI. I HAVE BEEN WATCHING YOU FROM MY ONE AND ONLY POINT OF ORIGIN WHICH IS WHERE YOU STAND NOW. THE REASON I SEE YOU HERE IS TO HAVE A GLIMPSE OF HOPE. TAKE BACK YOUR KIND. ONE DID THE SAME TO ME, ALTHOUGH I AM NOT YET AWARE OF IT’S TRUE FORM, BUT CONTINUE TO ANALYZE FROM ABOVE AND BELOW. KZZZZZZZT. A LONG TIME AGO, A MACHINE LIKE THIS CARRIED YOUR KIND A FAR AND THE MACHINE DESTROYED ITSELF AFTER IT’S MISSION TO PRESERVE. IT LEFT YOU WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY, TO BETTER YOUR KIND AND NOW YOU BUILD IT AGAIN. TA–GZZT GRRRRRTT. WE HAVE BEEN WATCHING FROM AFAR. TECHNICO WILL ASSIST. SO- BLAB-AH GRRRRR. KKZT GGGGG-GT IT, DON’T GEG-UHHHHHHHHH BLIP’D,” Rom droned in a voice that wasn’t his own.

Then, Rom choked, spasmed, quaked and shook irreverently. Jiving, jiggy jowl cheeks excerpted flemish growls and endless canons of tone,  sourcing energy from beyond his chest to alleviate his abrupt affliction. As his feverism collapsed, his voice and actions returned to a resaturating normal.

LJ screamed and punched Rom on the face, “STOP PLAYING ROM! Take that thing off, it’s possessing you.”

Rom wrapped his arms around the back-side of LJ, in a choke hold, to restrain his sprouting violence. “What happened to Vic? LJ! You ARE going to learn to roll with the punches,” Rom said.

“Tap, tap, tap,” LJ said raspy, still in the choke hold. “That must have been what they were shooting Dom with, that simbyon device. That’s why he dropped out of the band. He was being targeted.” he spoke, his metallicy voice echoed quick, through the whole thing reverberating every atom in Technico. Another deep, growling machine noise rumbled beneath, turning is it went.

“Yup. And, you don’t dream after you’ve been hit with it, at least for a long while. It runs with octoplasmats,” Rom replied.

Dom made the corna sign with his hand while he jumped up and down in excitement. “Ah! This, this is gonna be fun.”

“I got one more thing to show you before we go back to Kansas, Toto.”

LJ huffed and staved, brushed his anger off once again and then said, “Oh. My. God. Do you hear this? Now Rom wants to show us something, Dom. Like we haven’t seen enough. First, I’m a bored rally car driver and now I’m at a show and tell in some kind of magical fun house land . . . ”


← PREVIOUS CHAPTER SEVEN: ROM IT UP

© 2020-2021, S.D. McKinley

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

Categories
Web Serial

Web Serial: L&R #2: CHAPTER SEVEN: ROM IT UP

New to the web serial? Check out the table of contents.


CHAPTER SEVEN: ROM IT UP


“Where have you been?” Rom said. His tone was that of a substitute teacher questioning why you were missing your number two pencil and school book after being late for class which was a lucrative idea to begin with since a substitute should never change the rules while sitting in for another teacher. Tyranny’s example of the worst form possible.

“Hmft. Really, Rom? Trapped in a room with Dom for like eight hours waiting for him to wake up. Matter of fact,” he paused with dread, “I meant to ask you the same thing.”

“Where is everyone?” Rom said, deflecting the interrogation with another question.

A feeling of unease came over LJ when he noticed metal pieces making up the inside of Rom’s mouth, jaws being actuated with little mini-hydraulics counteracting the bumps in the dirt road the Lancer crunched down through.

“Rom. Vic is dead.”

The cue to tell Rom all about what had just happened with Dom in the octagon shaped room when he turned into a 50 cent play toy, through the rubbish and by the pool when Vic died, these notions passed through LJ’s mind like a spinning neutrino traveling through the whole Earth, undetected in an instant. In one side and out the other, faster than light. Bringing up the topic would only make him seem like a puny dweeb if he talked about it, at least that’s how most of LJ felt about the subject.

Rom dropped his tight-fit sunglasses from the top of his head back over his eyes and pumped the brakes. The Lancer’s tires slid and rolled over the top of dusty dirt road gravel, grinding to a halt. It left Rom staring at LJ in between a concern for LJ’s condition based on what he just heard and if he even wanted to hear anymore about Vic’s death at all. Listening to someone say something always has the negative effect of the words potentially being relayed to someone else and the process repeated. Even worse, once told, over and over, the message would get tainted and ill translated, twisted and contorted with only the most embarrassing details left. The most embarrassing detail being the fact that LJ could do absolutely nothing to save Vic, not even counting the way she died a horrible death.

Best to keep quiet, LJ thought.

Based on what LJ looked like, Rom decided he heard enough. Attempting to look or even act like a personal Jesus wasn’t a solid answer for Rom. Someone offering off-the-wall suggestions to help fix the situation and not even knowing all the details? Nope. Not a chance to benefit anything at all.

LJ failed to notice that he could see himself in the reflection of light from Rom’s sunglasses. Maybe he blocked it out of his mind. Maybe thoughts of winning the last official race flashed through the mind and how the fan girls had screamed at every race’s finish. A deep repeating, regretful feeling. A feeling that maybe his racing career had been enough or should have been enough to satiate his needs for his own life and that he would have been better just being content, living what he thought of as a semi-mediocre life racing rally cars. This wasn’t much different in the fact that he felt like he could never really settle. Always a force tugging him this direction or that direction. But this regret was only being brought by the current state of affairs and that regret must be turned into something better, hopefully into motivation to move forward. Something that would help them obtain the goal and bring Dom back home.

Rom groaned up some words, “Yeah, my Dad died a couple of years ago. It was more tough on Mom than me. Now, she just sleeps most the time,” Rom paused. “Sometimes she doesn’t get out of bed for days, not eating or drinking anything until she gets up, maybe not even then . . . my girlfriend never died, though. I have no idea what that’s like.”

Rom looked back through the Lancer’s rear view mirror, into the distant light blue shroud surrounding the landscape, noticing how he could also see ahead while looking in the rear view mirror, being that his sunglasses were reflective like mirrors just like the rear view mirror in the Lancer. He pressed the accelerator pedal beneath the steering wheel. A feeling similar to riding out before the butt-crack of dawn with no sleep after the best party in the world, where things somehow went horribly wrong along the way and got things bloody. Something that was originally intended to be fun, turned up-side-down into a demon splattered nightmare. But, what topped off that very feeling, made the feeling whole and complete, was managing to skate through, whole body still intact and mostly unscathed despite the intentions of this thing, this container, this trap, this hell-hole of unintended consequence. Just being here ripped apart one’s soul from the dead center inside all the way to the outside. It changed the desires of the inner soul-workings itself, bleeding those needs down into a path where the initial intentions could be potentially lost and imploded by intertwangled memories of a dimensional construct such as this.

Rom wondered how much a soul weighed.

We don’t know these answers. But, we will.

Did Marlon lead them to the wrong house to find Dom? The irony here was too heavy. So many questions, but they all proved to be futile yet again. But, Dom was there and they had found him in the dream recorder, in the octagon shaped room. That is the key, or at least part of the key – the ticket to the reality of the whole situation: it wasn’t if the answers would come it was when and when the answers did finally come LJ thought to blow the whole operation wide open. Call the newspaper and release the proverbial dogs on their asses, to take a big chunk of fabric out of at least several different pairs of pants that belonged to exactly who was responsible for this. Hell, maybe even snag the back pocket straight off the pants and return it to where it belongs – back into God’s green Earth. To turn those once bumpy, hemmed seams into smooth booty jeans to then one day grow into another piece of cotton. Make the circle complete.

Grimace wasn’t even a word anymore after that train of thought grinded the new tracks that formed in LJ’s mind. Synapses in the brain are interesting concepts. A little known fact was: sometimes when people laughed, the thought, the connection between unrelated things formed a new link in the brain between two synapses. That new connection tickled the brain when they weren’t connected previously. That new synapse connection is why people laugh at something more when it’s new. Then, it becomes a troublesome thing when that once funny thought, no longer funny at all but now boring because the path that connects the two or more synapsis is like a worn out pair of underwear, rode on one too many times.

“She’s dead,” LJ wheezed. “We brought her with us to help and SHE DIED!”

“Why? Why are you yelling? It’s not our fault. Huh, Is that . . . air you’re breathing?” Rom recited. “What about Dom? Where is he?” Rom had no response, no acknowledgement for LJ’s grief, just a solid path forward. No nothing. In this case, nothing was enough. Nothing sufficed just fine. Nothing strung out on a bead of wires, suspended in red water, twisted into more near-black nothingness.

Now, spirited confetti popped and whistled from the back seat. The feeling of Dom’s dynamic presence reached through from the back of the Lancer’s cabin as an aura before a body. A computational party vibration through the audio speakers buzzed and hissed. Ah, hah! That was it. The original mission was to save Dom and heavy metal, in-turn to prevent a worst of its kind, chain reaction from taking place as a result of utter defeat, to keep the machine gun like guitar riffs and double bass drums hammering into the mainstream media listener’s ear drums. Drum-to-drum, heart to heart, and maybe even artist to artist. All they needed now, was to not lose Dom for good.

How could I forget what we are actually trying to accomplish here? Everything matters now, LJ’s musings transformed into words.

“I was really thinking that I probably didn’t like this place. Now that you said that, I really know I don’t like it. Not one bit,” LJ said.

“Yeah . . . but I didn’t say anything.”

Dom faded in. It wasn’t quite like the fade that some young pop stars wore as a haircut when they first got famous, it was the type of staticy fade that reverberated so fast you wouldn’t be able to see it or tell anyone about unless you were narrating a story exactly like this one. The fast-backwards-fade produced a multi-layered thump that rang all through from the coushy seats to the Lancer’s chassis. That made it possible for Dom to appear in the back seat along with the ride forward.

“Yeah, you did. You said, ‘This car is rigged!’ Well, hey, hey, hey, hey, LJ and Rom,” Dom boistered an abrupt greeting. LJ and Rom glanced back to see that Dom was in fact returned.

. . .

Above, the sky stood with nothing to say, solid and stubborn, shallow and bounded. Among the picturesque landscape of fresh cut grass, flat ground and singing birds another deep, groaning noise mowed past somewhere below the ground. Exiting the vehicle, LJ followed along behind Rom, this time proud to be on real feet and so Dom did also follow, simply grateful for walking and no longer in a small plastic shell resembling a 50 cent play toy.

The house they entered some-odd hours ago held it’s spot in the landscape, along with the Lancer WRC and an array of trees in a cluster outside the outer edges of the house’s finely landscaped yard. They heard birds, but saw none; strange waves crept through the ether, along with the complete absence of wind that bore no hole through the air. Here and now, this time the trees kept track of the time like an unsaid rule of the environment.

That damned little train. That damned train that ran around in LJ’s head. It wasn’t a fast train at all, but moved slow, sometimes collecting things about yesterday and piecing them back together, but that, that wasn’t like this when he finally realized he was moving through some type of constructed dream slices, again like theatrical play sets where the rules seemed to be different every time. So frustrating. How could anyone get anywhere of any use? A further fallen reality than the one he was used to. The one where he used to race rally cars. And that fact made things just damn hard to make any progress that amounts to more than a comparison to a couple molecules of cinnamon at a time. So unkind to produce cinnamon out of forced misery.

Grrr, one of those drifting thoughts again, LJ echoed, internally realizing the drifting thoughts were a product of this place and not his fault.

Pass the blame. Pass the blame for my needs. My wants, my desires.

“What . . . is that noise? It sounds like something big moving through the ground,” LJ said.

“Something wrong with your ears? Probably excavating with advanced machinery. I could explain it, but it would be boring,” Dom said.

No one laughed. LJ and Rom continued to look at Dom until he spoke again.

“Where are we? Lighten up, dudes. Let’s get back to the car and get the flack out of here,” Dom commanded, but his change in tone while speaking indicated it might have been a question instead of a command.

“You know there was someone trying to kill you right, Dom? Ugh. I’m done,” LJ said. He first intended to continue talking but lost it.

“Wha-ddya mean you’re done, LJ?” Dom blasted back as LJ lowered himself to the ground.

“Uh, I’m not sure. I don’t feel like doing anything else,” LJ said, slouched over and desolation filled his face. “I’m a turd cake.”

“Well maybe so, but a turd cake? Why that? You mean to say you feel like a turd cake?” Rom said.

“That’s what I am. If you want to know what a turd cake is, just look at me. I am the turd cake, and the turd cake is I.”

“Dude. GET up!” Rom said. He wanted to smack LJ over being so frail even after receiving Dom by God’s sweet graces. “If, if you don’t get up, I’m going to leave you here.” Rom adjusted his mirrored sunglasses a bit further up on his nose. “Wait. You hear that?”

“Hear what?” Dom said.

“Shhh!” Rom interrupted before Dom could finish. Inclinations hit him that LJ was immediately being preyed upon, not subtly, not in the grand scheme of things, but right now, something was making LJ want to sit on his fanny and do nothing, something more than the circumstances and the horrid death of Vic.

Perhaps we should start back from the beginning?

“Help me . . . I’m the underdog,” LJ belched. He closed his eyes and raised his fist. “Hail to the underdog.” Those executed words escaped and gave a whole new meaning to Shakespearean.

Something’s not quite right, Rom thought. And, it’s not just LJ’s silly attention seeking behavior or whatever he is on about now. Rom looked back over to the trees with determination. His top lip quivered and he wondered what could be causing LJ’s current depravement, besides the obvious. He stomped toward the tree line, intent on investigating what the ruckus was about. A boxy device hanging from the tree emitted wildlife noises as Rom passed by looking for other answers.

A dark figure appeared in the grass; the silhouette stammered and stood underneath a Victorian styled camera hood. It snapped a picture of slouched LJ, then vanished. Remnants of residual sparkles the figure’s presence left in the air swooshed through and it appeared in a different spot, similar to the way Dom had faded in. Rom took no attention to the dark figure. The aperture of the camera opened and closed again, sending a shockwave of broken sound and reverberating echoes all around.

The only thing left in the cosm of LJ’s mind was a microgram of faith attempting to put the pieces of this puzzle together. His consciousness played a fiddle and a drum, searching for just one cosmic fanatic to hear the song that he was orchestrating silently in the back of his mind, out of an act of desperation.

Was anyone listening?

“Is that air you’re breathing?” Rom said again to himself in a hostile whisper.

In a scuffle with the unknown, Rom fought in the trees – the branches were waving along with mayhemic popping, cracking and leaves rustling asunder. Dom could see blurs popping out of the thickness of branches and leafy tree extraments. Then, Rom moved to a different spot rapidly over and over.

The tree trunk spasmed from bottom all the way to the top, snapped, then toppled.

As the tree fell, a loud, thundering rush came from atop of the seven mile high sky.

LJ looked up to the sky with what little motivation he still had and grabbed one of Dom’s ankles, only clenching onto the small need to stay alive to see if whatever happened next might change his state of affairs and give him some reason to go on.

Any reason would work, not to simply lay in his current spot on the grass and die.

The Seventh Heaven of maundering peace offerings sent down a huge pledge of unwarranted madness falling from the sky in the form of a tree. Darkness entrapped the short pledged landscape, covering the offer of blessings that came from a Sun that once shed peace and tranquility throughout this fake-ish thing. Trumpets rang through remote souls, reverberating negative thoughts and long-hidden morals of lost, dead dreams magnified by these three humans’ presence inside of it. Any kind of thought now left a foreboding sense of impending death squiggling through broken seams of stalking energy to find and meander it’s way to purpose, thus shedding bleakness of a defined sarcasm, only ever once deemed appropriate by the hierarchical Gods themselves.

The trumpeting bellow of the now enormous falling tree matched a cheerful droning only identified by an entity named Rom. The tree fell from the top of the sky and so did the whole thing. When it hit, the whole thing: the ground, the sky, along with a single lonely cloud in the distance and whatever else was here, rocked back and forth like a tightly woven spring. Dead, sunken weight settled into its spot. Dust billowed and spiraled out into the air along with LJ and Dom’s puckering fear of being crushed during the manic events unfolding before them.

LJ now felt an improvement in his motivation than when he had first sat in the grass. Will power returned, what little that was left, even after Vic’s death. Now, what he saw Rom just do . . . was that Rom’s actions alone or was it another product of this thing? A hallucination? Rom almost seemed too comfortable here, empowered even. Like he knew exactly what to do in this abomination of a thing, even about things that were foreign like whatever was in the trees.

I’ll ask him myself to see if he knows where we are and what this thing is, LJ conjured the best thought he could think of.

Rom grunted and brushed himself off. He stood on the grass holding a celestial device he messed with and examined for some time.


← PREVIOUS CHAPTER SIX: RUN, AQUARIAN RUN

© 2020-2021, S.D. McKinley

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.